|Carte de Visite
Durban Photo Company - Photographer
West Street, West End, Durban, Natal,
|Wearing his recently presented 1877-79 South Africa Medal, this private or possibly NCO was a member of the 58th (Rutlandshire)
The 58th arrived in South Africa directly from England as part of the reinforcements requested by Lord Chelmsford after the abortive
first invasion of Zululand in early 1879.
A single battalion regiment, the 58th left two detached companies in Natal under Major General Clifford as part of the lines of
communications guard. Aside from a few men who served with the mounted infantry (a photo of one such mounted infantrymen can
bee seen in the South Africa section of this site) the rest of the battalion was assigned to Lord Chelmsford's Ulundi Column which was
to spearhead the second invasion. As the column advanced into Zululand two additional companies were detailed as the garrison of the
newly built Fort Evelyn. The remaining companies were present during Chelmsford's final victory at Ulundi on 4 July, 1879.
The 58th remained in Natal after the end of the Anglo-Zulu War and took part in the Transvaal War against the Boers in 1880-81. It
was during this campaign that the 58th became the 2nd battalion of the newly organized Northamptonshire Regiment. During the
Transvaal War the 58th gained the distinction of being the last British battalion to carry its colours into battle.
It is hard to pin down exactly when during this period that this photo was taken. Clearly after the end of the Zulu War since he is
proudly wearing the medal for that campaign. Clearly it would have been taken sometime between the issuance of the medal (I am
currently trying to pin down that date) and 1885 after which the battalion shipped out for Hong Kong. Even though he is wearing the
tunic of the 58th the photo still could have been taken after he was officially a member of the new Northamptonshire Regiment since
it is doubtful if the new tunics and badges would have arrived or had been issued in the middle of the ill-fortuned Transvaal War.
My best guess is that the photo was taken soon after this soldier's receipt of his medal to commemorate the event.
Although he is unidentified he may well have been Irish since this photograph was found in Ireland.